Contacting the Branch

If you have any questions or need any support please contact the Branch Office

 contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Or you can call 020 8359 2088, if we are unable to answer the telephone please leave a message speaking slowly and clearly please include your name, telephone number, membership number and a brief message about the assistance you require. We will respond as soon as we can.

Alternatively you can contact UNISON Direct Call Centre by telephone 

08000 857 857 Monday – Friday 6am – Midnight, Saturday 9am – 4pm

or make an online enquiry by clicking the following link

https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/online-enquiries/

To Join UNISON click the following link 

https://join.unison.org.uk/

Pay Up now – cleaners not being paid London Living Wage

Barnet UNISON had tried unsuccessfully to convince Labour controlled Barnet Council to bring back the cleaning service in-house earlier this year. If they have had brought Cleaning back in-house which is a service which is predominantly carried out by black female Barnet UNISON members they would have made a powerful statement to a workforce that is often overlooked when it comes to consideration for insourcing.

Last week Barnet UNISON spoke to some of our cleaners to check that they are receiving the correct London Living Wage increase of £13.15.

Barnet UNISON discovered that they were NOT being paid the correct rate and we have written to Norse Cleaning and Barnet Council to ask that they are paid the correct rate, and they receive their backdated payments.

We have been given an assurance that the error will be rectified. We will wait to see our members payslips later this month.

Earlier this year our cleaners were informed there were changes to their annual leave they came to Barnet UNISON to explain. The letter was not well written and difficult to understand but we finally sorted it out and made sure that none of our members were going to lose their annual leave because of the changes.

Barnet UNISON takes its responsibilities seriously and will never shirk having difficult conversations with employers it’s what we should do.

End.

Hundreds continue to sign solidarity statement to Leader of Barnet Council

The statement below is online and open for all to sign by clicking on the link below

https://bit.ly/barnetstrike

 

LABOUR CONTROLLED BARNET COUNCIL STOP STRIKEBREAKING.

Dear Cllr Rawlings

We are writing to you as Leader of Barnet Council to urge you to terminate the use of the recruitment agency Imperium Solutions and to sit down with UNISON and end this dispute.

Barnet UNISON mental health social workers have been on strike for 54 days over a ten-month period. They are currently on a nine-week strike ending on Friday 12 July.

On Friday 17 May 2024, in an email to all staff, a senior council officer acting on behalf of Labour controlled Barnet Council announced that they were going to employ social workers to carry out work which would normally be done by our strikers.

UNISON swiftly wrote to Barnet Council warning it UNISON believed that:

“should LBB procure strike cover as described in this letter, it would be procuring the services of an employment business, Regulation 7 of the Regulations would be breached and a criminal offence would be committed under the Employment Agencies Act 1973. As explained above, this would likely also mean a number of ancillary criminal offences are committed by LBB.”

UNISON also wrote to Imperium Solutions (info@imperiumsolutions.co.uk) asking them to pull out of their contract with Barnet Council.

However, as of 5 June 2024, Imperium Solutions are still providing social workers to break our lawful strike action.

We are now in a General Election and The Labour Party has consulted trade unions over their policy called: Delivering A New Deal for Working People.

This is an extract:

The rules around agency workers in breaking strikes were condemned by industry and put the safety of the public and workers at risk. It places unnecessary red tape on trade union activity that work against their core role of negotiation and dispute resolution. Over the past 14 years, the Conservatives have consistently attacked rights at work, including through the Trade Union Act 2016, the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 – all of which Labour will repeal to give trade unions the freedom to organise, represent and negotiate on behalf of their workers.

The actions of your senior officers are at odds with the above policy.

There is no place across the trade union movement for use of agency workers to break strikes. As the Leader of Labour controlled Barnet Council, we are asking you to urgently stand down the recruitment agency and enter into talks with UNISON.

Signed,

 

To sign this statement click on the link below.

 

https://bit.ly/barnetstrike

 

Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary writes to Imperium Solutions to stop strikebreaking. 

Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary writes to recruitment company Imperium Solutions to stop strikebreaking.

“Dear Imperium Solutions

I am aware that you have been contracted by the London Borough of Barnet. UNISON members are currently engaged in a trade dispute with the London Borough of Barnet. Staff at London Borough of Barnet are currently taking industrial action, in the form of strike action from 13 May to 12 July 2024.

Our dispute concerns the mass exodus of staff. It is important that you fully understand the local situation. Including planned departures, approximately 30 mental health social workers will have left the service over the course of 22 months.

I am asking you to stop providing a resource for Barnet Council. The resource you are providing is work normally provided by workers who are taking industrial action to improve their conditions at work in a bid to provide stability to service users and their families. This is a dispute about public safety. Your activity is undermining the staff members who normally provide this service. It also means that you are prolonging the pain for our communities.

It is widely acknowledged by industry as a whole that providing agency workers to undermine strike action puts the safety of the public and workers at risk. I and my members are wondering why you would want to be a part of that and have your name associated with that kind of activity.

This strike has been ongoing for ten months and is already one of the longest running strikes in UNISON’s 30-year history. This dispute is regularly reported on by Community Care (12 articles in 10 months), a publication widely read by all social workers. Whilst you may be of the view that you have nothing to do with this dispute your actions will be seen as politically motivated. Because of the national profile of this dispute your organisation risks being forever associated as an agency which specifically engaged workers to undermine a lawful strike of our members.

You may be aware that another contractor was asked to carry out the work you have been asked to do on behalf of Barnet Council. Following communication with UNISON, that organization withdrew from the contract.

On behalf of our members, I am urging you to withdraw from this contract with Barnet Council.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary.

Barnet UNISON “

 

End.

 

 

 

Labour controlled Barnet Council using a recruitment agency to break our strike.

The question on the lips or our members is why Barnet Labour Party is promoting anti-union tactics using Tory legislation i.e. Trade Union Act 2016, the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 whilst at the same time the Labour Party during the General Election is promoting “Delivering A New Deal for Working People.”

The Labour Party is promoting a policy called: Delivering A New Deal for Working People.

This is an extract:

As the recent period of disruption has shown, arcane bureaucratic hurdles do not prevent strikes and make it harder for unions to engage in the bargaining and negotiation that does settle disputes. The rules around agency workers in breaking strikes were condemned by industry and put the safety of the public and workers at risk. It places unnecessary red tape on trade union activity that work against their core role of negotiation and dispute resolution. Over the past 14 years, the Conservatives have consistently attacked rights at work, including through the Trade Union Act 2016, the Minimum Service Levels (Strikes) Bill and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022 – all of which Labour will repeal to give trade unions the freedom to organise, represent and negotiate on behalf of their workers.

View the full document here.

https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/LABOURS-PLAN-TO-MAKE-WORK-PAY.pdf

Last week UNISON issued a letter asking Barnet Council to stop their course of action.

“UNISON’s view LBB may be guilty of the common law offence of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a criminal offence, conspiracy under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 or encouraging the commission of a crime under sections 44 and 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2009. Your use of agency workers during a period of strike may also be unlawful as a matter of public law. Any employment businesses who provide workers to LBB in breach of Regulation 7 may also be exposed to civil liability.”

To date Barnet Council and Imperium Solutions are still working together to break our lawful strike.

End.

 

Thanks Holly: Barnet resident takes delivery of Barnet VOICE newspaper.

Barnet resident Holly taking delivery of Barnet VOICE newspapers which explains to Barnet residents why #BarnetUNISON mental health social workers are on strike.

Barnet UNISON, with the help of strikers and residents, has already circulated 10,000 newspapers and is now planning on delivering thousands more newspapers during a general election.

Residents are contacting Holly to collect boxes to deliver to their street.

If you want to help deliver our newspaper, please email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

 

You can view our newspaper online by clicking the link below

https://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Barnet-Voice-4-v08.pdf

End.

UNISON issue challenge to Labour controlled Barnet Council over strike breaking

 

Today 23 May 2024 UNISON issued a serious legal letter to the Chief Executive of Barnet Council John Hooton regarding a decision made by senior officers to procure the services of an organisation called Imperium Solutions to procure these workers to operate LBB’s mental health duties and triage functions.

UNISON in their letter go on to say:

“These are functions of LBB and we assume that LBB will remain accountable for their delivery. It is therefore not the case that LBB is outsourcing a service; rather, it is procuring workers to provide the exact services normally provided by its own workers during a period of strike. Therefore, should LBB procure strike cover as described in this letter, it would be procuring the services of an employment business, Regulation 7 of the Regulations would be breached and a criminal offence would be committed under the Employment Agencies Act 1973. As explained above, this would likely also mean a number of ancillary criminal offences are committed by LBB.”

The letter goes on to state:

“UNISON’s view LBB may be guilty of the common law offence of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a criminal offence, conspiracy under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 or encouraging the commission of a crime under sections 44 and 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2009. Your use of agency workers during a period of strike may also be unlawful as a matter of public law. Any employment businesses who provide workers to LBB in breach of Regulation 7 may also be exposed to civil liability.”

Barnet Council has in its means the power to end this dispute. In negotiations they have already stated that it would be “easier and cheaper” to agree to UNISON demands for recruitment and retention payment for mental health social workers across the three teams. But someone at Barnet Council is preventing this dispute from happening. News from our membership is that more staff have handed in their notice and there are likely to be more unless someone takes responsibility for this mental health catastrophe and meets UNISON halfway to resolve the dispute.

Today our members have now taken 46 days of strike action with another 36 days to take unless this dispute is resolved.

Last night the Prime Minister announced the date of the General Election, 4 July 2024. Whilst the Labour Party is preparing to win all three seats across Barnet, our members with the support of residents will be handing out thousands and thousands of our community newspapers which explain the reasons why our members are striking and the imminent catastrophic collapse of mental health social work in Barnet.

Our members want to work in a safe working environment with no waiting lists and fair pay. A recruitment and retention payment will help encourage existing staff to remain and help Barnet Council recruit experienced mental health social workers that they badly need before it is too late.

UNISON’s letter finishes with this:

“I repeat my request that you confirm to me in writing as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event prior to 28 May 2024 that you will not seek to procure external workers to provide cover for striking employees.

If you are unable to provide this confirmation or otherwise disagree with the information contained in this letter, I request that you notify me of this by reply as soon as reasonably practicable.

I reserve UNISON’s right to notify the relevant authorities of any potential criminal offences and also to seek relief via the courts, including injunctive relief through judicial review proceedings, should you fail to provide the requested confirmations and agreements by 28 May 2024.

I look forward to hearing from you.”

John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON : “It is deeply disappointing that we are where we are. UNISON has been trying for the past 20 months to avoid this dispute. We’ve had countless meetings both on the record and off the record to try and find a place where we could find an agreement. The problem is the Council keep changing their position and the critical factor is that the real decision maker has not been present in any of the negotiating meetings. The letter issued by UNISON is extremely professional and has made it very clear of the serious risks facing Barnet Council if they continue to pursue an adversarial approach to this dispute. I am still hopeful that someone in a Leadership position in Barnet Council will approach UNISON about meeting us halfway to end the dispute and try and restore stability within the mental health social work teams.”

End.

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